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One Direction star champions City of Culture event

Former One Direction star Zayn Malik has been revealed as the ambassador for Bradford's City of Culture year.

The 31-year-old singer is originally from West Bowling - although now spends much of his time in the US.

As ambassador he will attend some of the year's 1,000 shows, exhibitions and events.

Malik said: "I’ve travelled all over the world but my roots and family remain in Bradford."

The announcement was made at Bradford City's Valley Parade stadium.

Malik first found fame with boy band One Direction in 2010 and went on to a solo career after leaving the group in 2015.

In a video message played at Valley Parade, he said: "Bradford is and always will be home to me.

"It’s a very special place and I’m happy to see it being recognised as the UK City of Culture for 2025.

"There are some exciting projects I am taking part in throughout the year that I can’t wait to share with you.

"Now we can celebrate this great city and the people who live and work here with the rest of the world.”

'Our countdown has begun'

A new "Love Bradford 2025" logo was also unveiled, as well as plans to recruit more than 3,500 volunteers from the district.

Three free events are also planned this year in the lead-up to 2025.

Shanaz Gulzar, Creative Director of Bradford 2025, said: “In 2024 we’re gearing up for a district-wide cultural programme which will put Bradford on a national and international stage.

"I’m thrilled Bradford’s very own superstar Zayn Malik is joining us on this journey – his creative vision and passion for his home town strongly aligns with our brand values.

"Zayn’s involvement, as well as the three special events in 2024, are just a taste of what’s to come in 2025. This is the start - our countdown has begun.”

Bradford 2025 CEO Daniel Bates at the launch event with Creative Director Shanaz Gulzar and Morrisons CEO Rami Baitieh
Bradford 2025 CEO Daniel Bates at the launch event with Creative Director Shanaz Gulzar and Morrisons CEO Rami Baitieh

The free events will begin this spring with Where It Began running from 3 May to 13 October - an art exhibition from British-Pakistani artist Osman Yousefzada.

French street theatre company Compagnie OFF will perform in the city centre on 24 August, and Four Nations: Bradford will see portraits of people from the city displayed throughout the district in September.

Ryan Sparks, Chief Executive at Bradford City AFC, said: “It is a really huge success for Bradford to have obtained UK City of Culture status for next year.

“We will be carrying wording with a nod to the UK City of Culture below the crest on our playing shirts for the next two seasons, which will be worn with huge pride in what Bradford has accomplished."

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